A deadly drug-resistant fungus is spreading in New Jersey.
Candida auris, which is typically found in healthcare facilities that take care of patients with ventilators like hospitals and nursing homes, is causing serious infections across the United States, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The fungus is resistant to the medicines typically used to treat fungal infections.
More than one in every three patients that develop an invasive Candida auris infection – like an infection affecting the heart, brain or blood – die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the DOH, there were 141 confirmed cases of Candida auris in the Garden State as of September 30. The state also noted another 22 probable cases of the fungus.
The fungus poses the largest threat to patients that have other health problems. Symptoms of Candida auris infection are not always noticeable, according to the CDC, because patients are often already sick with another illness.
A patient can carry the fungus without contracting an infection, a scenario known as colonization according to the DOH.
The fungus was first discovered in 2009, according to the CDC, and New Jersey has been dealing with the Candida auris for years now. In 2015, a patient who died of a brain tumor at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick was found to have had the fungus.
The CDC reports that there were 806 confirmed cases of Candida auris nationwide as of August 31. New Jersey had the third largest share of those cases, trailing only Illinois and New York.
The CDC warned hospitals to start looking for the fungus in 2016, and the number of confirmed cases in New Jersey has grown since then.
In May, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called on the CDC to declare an emergency for the fungus.
Source:: Daily times